Category Archives: Media

Check out the latest media show from professional tennis player and blogger Dmitry Tursunov, Tursunov Tales. This week he answers a question from a woman in Baghdad, Iraq, by suggesting that his father was building nuclear technology in his basement and selling it to, among other countries, Iraq, thus providing concrete evidence of W.M.D.s. While waiting customers ate his mother’s crepes and strawberries, little Dmitry dressed up and danced for them.

His conclusion: despite our cultural differences we’re all alike because “everyone loves red buttons.” For those who didn’t live through the cold war, that’s the button that initiates a nuclear strike. I’m tellin’ you, this guy is better than Jon Stewart. Political satire at it’s best.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 222 user reviews.

It looked more like Joyce was demonstrating chimpanzee language skills than trying to coach one of the top athletes in the world. The WTA is experimenting with on court coaching this year but I hope they shelve it, I’d much rather watch Bedtime for Bonzo with Joyce and Sharapova.


The flow of the U.S. Open matched the trajectory of Justine Henin-Hardenne’s slam runs this year. Henin-Hardenne got to all four slam finals but fizzled out in three of them. The U.S. Open started off big with the naming ceremony for the Billie Jean King Tennis Center followed by Andre Agassi’s rousing victory over Andrei Pavel then Agassi’s still-hard-to-believe win over Marcos Baghdatis and, finally, the tearful, sad end to his career.

After Agassi there were a bunch of exciting five set matches and further abuse of medical timeouts alongside a not entirely unexpected run by Jelena Jankovic and an entirely unexpected run by Mikhail Youzhny.[blockquote]Most of all, Andy Roddick was back just in time to take over from Andre.

But then came those semifinals and finals and just like double H, who’s been battling a virus for the past few years, the tournament petered out. Half the sets in the women’s semifinals were bagels (6-0), poor Amelie Mauresmo was the recipient of two of them from Maria Sharapova, and there was another one in the semifinal between Roddick and Youzhny. At least Roddick and Sharapova, the biggest draws in the tournament after Agassi, made it to the finals.

The most entertaining part of the final between Sharapova and Henin-Hardenne was the hilarious comedy routine between Sharapova and her hitting partner/babysitter Michael Joyce. Michael holds up a banana, Maria eats a banana. Michael holds up four fingers, Maria hits more forehands. It looked more like Joyce was demonstrating chimpanzee language skills than trying to coach one of the top athletes in the world. The WTA is experimenting with on court coaching this year but I hope they shelve it, I’d much rather watch Bedtime for Bonzo with Joyce and Sharapova.

Speaking of which, when did Sharapova start acting like a movie star? When tennis journalists asked about the four fingers at the media session after Sharapova collected her second slam title, she clearly showed where the power lies in the tennis player/journalist relationship.

First she tried evasion,

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I thought this was supposed to be a positive interview.

then sarcasm,

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I just won a Grand Slam. The last thing I’m gonna talk about is some fingers or a banana, all right? I hope you got that one, thanks.

When that didn’t work, she turned into a disapproving mother cowing her recalcitrant child into towing the line.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: Can you tell me, if someone tells me to eat a banana, do you think that’s the reason why I’m gonna win a match?

Q. I think
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just give me your honest opinion.

Q. I will give you an honest answer. I think there’s the issue of competitive rules and
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Just take the rules away, take the books away, just just think.

Q. I’m more interested in the four fingers. What did that indicate?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I asked you to answer a question.

Can’t you just see some mother saying, “Now you listen to me young man, I asked a question and I want an answer right now. DO YOU HEAR ME?” complete with bumbling child played perfectly by the poor journalist. The journalist kept trying though.

Q. Yes. I think
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I think

Q. I think it was a strategic tactical moment which contributed to your thought process in the match.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Oh, okay.

Q. And would be my I don’t know, though.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: This is great advice. We should tell all the players to, you know, have a banana and they’re all gonna win. Great.

And now it was time for “You go to your room, young man, and when you have an answer you can come out.”

MARIA SHARAPOVA: All right. Let’s move on. That’s the last thing

Faced with banishment to its room the media finally gave in, humored its angry mother, and changed the subject.

Q. Maria, no fruit involved
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Great (laughing).

Sharapova must have mistakenly thought she’d walked into a coronation instead of a media session. Tennis journalists have pushed for better player access and they’ve been successful, all players are required to be available for interviews after their matches or face a fine, but there’s not much use in having an interview if the player can choose the questions.

Roddick made the final with Roger Federer exciting. He started off down 0-5 then unwound himself and showed us the new Andy Roddick. Chipping and charging, crisp volleying, backhands down the line and, most surprisingly, greatly improved movement. It wasn’t enough, Federer silently and efficiently took over after Roddick took the second set in a match that was eerily close to Federer’s final against Agassi last year. Federer had his third U.S. Open in a row after his fourth Wimbledon in a row and his ninth grand slam. The guy’s game is impregnable and so much for Rafael Nadal’s challenge, Rafa is long gone. Still, Roddick has now jumped over James Blake to become the top U.S. player again and he’s playing like a top five player. Good for him.

The week started off with a huge party for Billie Jean King and ended appropriately with Martina Navratilova picking up her 59th slam title in her last U.S. Open appearance. She won the mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan then, before the men’s final, was inducted into the U.S. Open Court of Champions along with Don Budge. It’s the end of an era that marked the beginning of women’s sports and made its way through the gay and lesbian movement to where we are now. And where we are now allowed Sharapova to make $18 million dollars last year.

After Sharapova won her title she graciously thanked Billie Jean but she might also want to treat the game that Billie Jean built with a bit of reverence. The fans and sponsors pay her salary and journalists give her media exposure. Anyway, queens these days don’t have anywhere near the power they used to have.

See also: U.S. Open 2005: Federer the Inevitable, a column about last year’s U.S. Open final between Federer and Agassi.

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 282 user reviews.

Title (write this as a spoof): new ATP p.r. initiatives were announced today to accompany the recent changes announced for next year’s tour.

Conclusion of conclusion: there were pips and squeaks from foreign players, in particular a slightly sarcastic comment from Roger Federer hoping he qualified for a night match some time, but hopefully it’s a swan song of the extreme U.S. centric nature of the U.S. Open. What do I suggest then? Well, pump up Sharapova on the screen, not just commercials, feature Nadal – I didn’t see anything about him in between his matches… Also, put the foreign players against U.S. players – if you can find them – and use that p.r. skill to connect them with the things the U.S. likes, a showman…., in conclusion, [put this at the end] entertainment.

It’s like those Geico commercials, not the gecko with the working class British accent but the one where celebrities channel day-to-day people to spice up their story and things more dramatic. It’s brilliant if you think about it. Little Richard manages to “whooooohoooooing” mash potatoes and cranberry sauce for a woman who hit a deer on Thanksgiving day and the latin singer(???) Charo in a red sparkly dress with arm-length gloves and thumbholes(aichhhh, what do you call those) manages to make a song and dance and… out of Stanley Smith’s wrecked car.

Just think what a celebrity could do for Roger Federer. Maybe he needs a celebrity channeler so the U.S. would embrace him. Let’s see, who would be appropriate. George Lopez? Nah. I got it, T.O., Terrell Owens. Love him or not, we want press and T.O. could squat along the sideline then, when Federer hits his next front-facing between the legs shot, T.O. could run over to the other side of the court, pick up the ball then kneel down on Federer’s opponent’s side of the court. You want media coverage, you’d get it in spades.

Or maybe celebrity coaches. Bobby Knight could be Andy Murray’s celebrity coach for his next semifinal slam match. Knight would have no problem getting a word in edgewise against Brad Gilbert. Knight could just slam him to the ground and break his collarbone. I don’t know if this was the exact same technique he used but Knight did manage to break his son Patrick’s collarbone.

If Andre Agassi can be wildy popular worldwide, why can’t Federer or Baghdatis be popular here. [put into the U.S. Open conclusion.

Don’t laugh, they do this in other sports don’t they? They put microphones on football players and coaches, ….

There is a minor league baseball team in the Independent(?) League [look up Reilly’s column the week of Sep. 27?] that is managed by it’s fans. That’s right, the fans can go on the team’s website and vote on the starting lineup. This isn’t great for the players’ careers, of course, they’re trying to make it to the big leagues and they’d rather the starting lineup was chosen by merit rather than whim and it also opens the door to tampering. Reilly reported that one game had the …. at first base and … Presumable an opposing team had logged in as a fans and chosen a deliberately funky lineup. However, that team is making (look up figures) this year than last.

And here’s another reality show, Murray Mutters, a comedy consisting of Andy Murray’s comments during matches. Affix a mic to him then follow him around. During his match with Nikolay Davydenko (did he win) he hit a ball into the net then had the following monologue: “It makes you nervous when you don’t try hitting the ball so hard, it makes you so nervous, focusing on not making errors, you’re so tight every time the ball comes to you.” Notice his use of the third person as if he’s outside his body.

How sweet is that? It’s the Federbear. Oooooh, I’m melting with cuteness. And Pat Tillman, the NFL lineman who left a million dollar contract in the NFL to enlist in the Army Rangers and was subsequently killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, still carried his cat pillow, Keek, and Fluff, his baby blanket with a bunny on it, for overnights and football camp when he was a teenager. I love this stuff.

[celebrity coaches- allow on court coaching, all match long, Jim Carrey cutting up on [game breaks] or Anna Kournikova or Terrell Owens – as a ballboy, he can scoop up the ball and kneel on the ??? Maybe a different celebrity coach for each set] Look, it could be worse. The Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League, an independent baseball leauge, are managed by their fans. Fans log online and choose the lineupe and position of each player. Of course, this could be a problem. At some point in the season, a few fo their opponents logged on as fans and chose a decidedly disadvantageous team to put on the field. The players, who are all trying to get a shot at the big leagues, also probably don’t appreciate it. But, more important, the team’s attendance has improved (check this, si.com) since the fans have taken over.

We already have this except that it’s Michael Joyce and Sharapova, I’m just suggesting that Joyce be replaced by someone with improv skills, holding up a banana for heaven’s sake, anyone would be more creative than that.

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 234 user reviews.

Fans are disillusioned with professional sports. Barry Bonds and the steroid lies, Kobe Bryant’s ego, Terrell Owens borderline case of narcissism. Hmmm, when does borderline mean on the edge and when does it mean over the edge. In either case, if you’re diagnosed as borderline, it’s probably pretty bad.

Ever since [jeez, what did they call it when they developed gloves and masks so you would be in an imaginary world? what was Billy’s friend’s name who was in the forefront of it?], we’ve been promised that we can play in an imaginary world and it’s here. Many adolescents would rather play and NBA video game than sit and watch a seven game first round playoff series. And they’re not limited to playing with friends either. Put on the headphones and sign onto the web and choose your [link]Halo opponent from anywhere in the world.

Philosophy has told us that we make up the world. We ignore anything that contradicts our view of ourself and heartily embrace something that inflates our preferred view of the world. [link to the movie]The Matrix was able to express complex philosophical ideas because we were already familiar with alternative worlds, we had already gone through the levels of [link]Myst or [link]Doom and could easily move forward or back through layers of a make believe world, through layers of reality?

The Matrix, the movie by the Wachowski brothers, was such a huge hit and spawned so many video games, followups (movies that come after the first movie) and even [link to animatrix]animation because it has a fundamental and common theme of science fiction -the battle with technology – are we running the show or are out computers running us? – and there are few religious and philosophical ideas it does not reference. In the Matriz, the AI robots (?) are running the simulation and Neo and his friends have to free us from their control.

If you’re Christian, Neo is the second coming and will save us. If you are a Hindu, the message is that the physical world we live in is, literally, an illusion. Neo wants to know what is real so he is lifted out of his vat and the computer cable is removed from the back of his head so he can take the red(?) pill and opt for reality. Which is, of course, is the path to God and may (does Neo die?) result in Neo’s sacrifice (resurrection?).

Professors of philosophy at Oxford University get off on it too. Nick Bostrum has written a paper titled [link] “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation.” Bostrum suggests that computer technology has advanced enough that we could be the forebears of a later generation that is running us as a simulation. To what end, I’m not sure. I can’t imagine what we could provide unless it’s a particularly amusing video game. That could be good enough I suppose.

I remember reading about out of body experience by reading the work of Bob ???. He was stunned to discover, on one of his out of body experiences, that our purpose in life was to generate love which acted as fuel for the race of people who were controlling us. If so, given our penchant for wars, the system has 50% efficiency at best.

In either case we can applaud our search for our purpose here in life and it’s interesting to note that it often parallels our day to day life. We use each other to get what we want. We start wars to ensure our sources of fuel.

I played computer simulations early in their development [find a name of one] – they were text driven at that time, no images, just text that told you where you were and asked you a question whose answer determined the next step in the game. When I studied biology in high school I delighted in drawing detailed pictures of structures which I knew nothing about. I spent most of my time drawing complex images of the world that the text driven game was spelling out and never got very far in the game.

And even though I write about fantasy tennis, I’m not that good at it. I’m currently number 7179 out of the 11, 000 teams in my league. But there are 11, 000 teams in my league and there are (??) fantasy baseball players and (??) fantasy football players in the US and there were (??) video games sold last year.

Video games enthusiasts have often been viewed as nerdy escapists pale from hours in their room beating this or that game or an opponent on the internet. That is changing now that companies are beginning to switch endorsements from athletes who play in real dirt to the gamers and they have become stars in a similar way that skateboarders originally became stars.

At some point in the future, I might be writing regular columns about combatants in a tennis video game.

Still, we view video games as an escape because the world is made up and you can shoot and kill people without going to jail. Fantasy sports has been [and I gues this is the point at the moment – are video games escapist and fantasy sports interactive, but how does that tie in simulation] viewed as interactive in the sense that consumers are no longer satisfied with watching, they want to play too. They want to be George Steinbrenner. A fantasy league is formed, team owners draft players then sit them or play them as they choose and trade them if they want to. That is more interactive than sitting alone in your living room watching a game.

This has been covered in books. What do I want to do here? A comparison between fantasy leagues and video games?

fantasy tennis league: real game, fantasy team. Video games: fantasy game, real players.

survey (talk tennis?): do fantasy players watch the matches less and focus more on the results, in other words, do they become like gamblers who are not so interested in the players or the team but whether or not they won.

fantasy sports: it’s not enough to be a passive spectator any more. We demand to have a team, to be come team (or player) owners.

Are we actually more unhinged from reality – will young people be less able to deal with day to day life problems and be less able to relate to others – or will we be more sophisticated about reality?

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 215 user reviews.

Something very exciting is happening in tennis and American media is finally paying attention. Harvey Araton’s column in Tuesday’s New York Times sports section compared Federer-Nadal to Frazier-Ali and, almost, anointed the rivalry with greatness. “…I may even be tempted to nominate Federer-Nadal as the most compelling rivalry in sports, ” Araton wrote. Qualified, yes, but we’ll take it.

Last time I looked, though, neither Federer nor Nadal was listed as American

We’re immensely thankful to The Tennis Channel for showing ten hours a day of Rome and almost as much of Hamburg, but it would be nice if the lowly sports fan who can only afford the top 60 cable/satellite package – which does not include The Tennis Channel – could tune in and see the best fight in sports. If you wanted to see Federer-Nadal IV, the hard court final at Dubai earlier this year, you were out of luck if you didn’t subscribe to The Tennis Channel and even if you did, you had to catch the text crawl on the bottom of the screen announcing the broadcast because it was a last minute addition.

If media coverage for this great rivalry was a fraction of the coverage devoted to Hideki Matsui’s broken wrist, we might catch the next Federer-Nadal meeting on a network station or ESPN.

Everyone tunes in for the French Open and it’ll be a huge draw for tennis if Federer and Nadal can make it to the final. A French Open meeting would come only one month after the titanic five hour match in Rome. Last time I looked, though, neither Federer nor Nadal was listed as American. When it was Agassi and Blake at the US Open, that was all over American print media, television and radio. Federer-Nadal is treated more like a soccer match between Juventus and AC Milan: an exciting event somewhere across the ocean.

Both Federer and Nadal pulled out of Hamburg this week. I chose them for my fantasy team even after they played a five hour match the day before Hamburg started. I am the dumbest bunny in the world. When we screw up royally, we tend to look around for someone else to blame. In this case I’m pissed off at the ATP Tennis Fantasy league because they don’t allow substitutions if a player drops out after the first match of a tournament starts.

the WTA and ATP could decide to hog all of the fantasy action for themselves

If I want to dump my ATP fantasy team and go to another fantasy league, though, my options might be limited in the near future. Also in Tuesday’s New York Times is a report about a current court case involving fantasy baseball. The legal system has already established that baseball statistics are news and therefore in the public domain, you can’t charge media outlets for reporting scores and statistics, but what if someone wants to create an online fantasy site where players can be drafted and traded – or, in the case of tennis, picked for an imaginary team every week? Is that fair use of players’ names and statistics or should the site pay a license because they are trading in properties owned by Major League Baseball?

Most tennis fans play fantasy leagues run by the WTA and the ATP but there are smaller sites which run tennis fantasy leagues. For instance, fantasytennis.net and Percy’s 896 Tennis Forum. If the lawsuit decides that fantasy league sites must purchase a license, these sites would have to pay a potentially large fee to the WTA and ATP. Then again, the WTA and ATP could decide to hog all of the fantasy action for themselves. Baseball is already headed in that direction.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the arm of Major League Baseball that sells licenses to online sites, used to sell licenses to small sites for four figures. Not any more. It currently licenses seven sites. UPI reports that CBS SportsLine, Yahoo and ESPN paid $2 million each. If you can’t spend millions for a license, forget about it.

This is a very shortsighted approach by Major League Baseball. Fans who merely enjoy baseball can become rabid fans once they become fantasy team owners. Look at the ATP Tennis Fantasy League. There are currently 10, 9888 teams. That’s a lot of tennis fans poring over draws and picking eight player teams every week. And those fans are a valuable commodity. Look at the sponsors for tennis tournaments: it’s Range Rover and Mercedes Benz, not Hyundai. Requiring a license to run a site using tennis players and statistics would severely limit the number of fantasy leagues and stunt fan growth.

Sports leagues aren’t the only groups trying to limit media access. In an article about media contol for TennisReporters.net, Matt Cronin reported that “… one tournament denied four legitimate web sites media credentials because the tournament itself feels that it can make money off video, audio and photos and didn’t want competition from other places. ”

Keeping people like me away from your tournament can only hurt tennis. Increasing one group’s control over media penalizes the sport as a whole. Media coverage of tennis is paltry enough as it is, don’t make it worse.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 229 user reviews.